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It is with much satisfaction that we announce that many, who from conscientious motives refused co-operation with us at the commencement of our career, have kindly promised their support and recommendation on conditions to. which we have no hesitation whatever in complying. We shall thus gain an accession of influence which, in all probability, no opposition will be able to withstand.
The peculiarity of circumstances under which "THE GOVERNESS" has successfully gone through the first year of its existence is sufficient apology for much that would otherwise be unsatisfactory. It has advocated right and fearlessly denounced wrong impartially—it has not set itself in opposition to any other educational periodical; on the contrary, the conductors of its contemporaries have invariably manifested a kindly feeling towards it, as an auxiliary rather than an antagonist. The reason of this is apparent all who subscribe to other educational periodicals can conscientiously subscribe to "THE GOVERNESS," whilst very many who subscribe to "THE GOVERNESS" could not conscientiously subscribe to any one of the other educational magazines-excellent as several of them are.
Assured by past success, and encouraged by many promises with reference to the future, we shall use our best endeavours to make "THE GOVERNESS AND EDUCATIONAL REVIEW" a consistent-though superior-successor to "THE GOVERNESS, A REPERTORY OF FEMALE EDUCATION."
December 1st, 1855.
FEMALE EDUCATION AND FEMALE EDUCATORS.
ON introducing the first Number of THE GOVERNESS, we do not hesitate to take for granted that, on the subject of Education in general, we need say but little; we should be fighting a phantom only, were we to devote our pages to the advocacy of claims which are all but universally admitted, and from which few, or none, of our readers demur. The expediency, if not the absolute necessity, of Popular Education is now recognised, either avowedly or tacitly, by all classes and by every community in the civilised world.
There are, it is true, alarmists who profess to believe that Popular Education is progressing with strides too mighty and too rapid -that its pretensions are treacherous, and favourable to revolutionary principles-that it is fostering a subtle, lurking, moral anarchism—or that, at least, it is tending to notions of social equality and independence that are inimical to, and incompatible with, such a constitution of society as is indispensable for the security of its peace, its prosperity, and its permanence. Happily such forebodings are becoming more and more unfashionable; the film of prejudice and the cloud of intolerance are becoming more and more attenuated; and the question no longer is-"Shall we educate?" nor "Whom shall we educate?" but "How shall we educate?" Systems, phases, and modifications of systems, and conglomerations of systems, are severally brought forward and recommended with a zeal so earnest, and an eloquence so powerful, that one who could without predilection or bias listen attentively to all that could be said of each method or system in a given time, would have an uncommon mind if he could at once decide in favour of any one of them in preference to the others. It is not our wish to advocate
any particular system, but in every possible way to countenance and promulgate sound educational PRINCIPLES.
That the subject of Female Education has not yet received that general and serious attention which its importance demands cannot be denied; the fact is, its claims, although not overlooked, are not recognised by the public, or by educationists generally, as of paramount importance; and we believe that until they are so recognised, all the indefatigable efforts of philanthropists to improve the moral, social, and intellectual condition of the country by education, will be, comparatively speaking, futile. Under this impression we shall use our best endeavours to render THE GOVERNESS a medium through which the friends of Education in general, and of Female Education in particular, may communicate their ideas, and stimulate one another in the good cause. Let the public mind once be thoroughly convinced that the public good depends very greatly on Female Education, and it will not rest until a reformation be effected.
The work of Education belongs peculiarly to woman. has endowed her with faculties admirably adapted to it. may be the better teacher, the better instructor, but woman is the better educator. Who can deny it? Can the metaphysician? Assuredly he cannot: ask him, "What is education?" he will tell you it is the drawing out,-the development of the human faculties-the moral, mental, and physical faculties with which man is endowed by the Creator. Now, is it on the male or on the female that the work of developing a child's faculties chiefly devolves? Why, unquestionably, it is the female; it is the mother, who, with a tender solicitude and a keen perception, watches with throbbing breast and beating heart to
"Catch from its eye the earliest ray
Of intellectual fire."
It is she who gives the first idea to the vacant mind; it is she who (it may be), before the child can, unaided, take his first step-it is she who has formed the character of the man. Who knows whether it be not so? Then who can estimate the moral influence, for good or evil, which a mother has over childhood and youth? Ah! a father may instruct, he may give "line upon line" and "precept upon precept;" he may exhort, he may threaten, he may control, he may awe;-it is the mother who educates. We do not
say that a father cannot nor does not educate his child; we do not
One of the principal elements requisite to form an educator is moral influence with those to be educated. Woman has not only a strong moral influence, but she has also peculiar and highly favourable opportunities for exercising it.
Maternity may increase and refine the educating power, but it does not bestow it. The power is inherent in woman. The ignorant nursery-maid is an educator; her look, and tone, and gesture are aids to the development of faculties perhaps of the highest order. Let not the fond parent who trusts her little boy to the temporary care of a servant maid, fancy that the girl is "only getting him ready for school." The girl is educating him morally, mentally, and physically; the cold water which trickles from his head down his healthy chubby limbs, would provoke him to try the strength of his lungs, to the no small disquietude of the house, were it not that Betty is amusing him by "such a pretty story about a great big black giant eating little boys and girls as if they were herrings." Scarcely a sentence does she utter but she exercises or developes some moral or mental faculty in such a manner as not only to counteract the good which the morning ablution might do as regards physical development, but also to do a positive injury. Now, had the girl been properly educated and instructed, her influence with the child would not have been less-possibly it might have been greater-and, O how different would the result have been!
The progress of civilisation has always been marked by the advancement of woman in social gradation; hence, in Christianity, which alone is the basis of civilisation in the highest sense, there is an importance and a status given to females which no other system ever allowed. To use the words of an elegant modern writer, "Christianity freed woman, because it opened to her the longclosed world of spiritual knowledge. Sublime and speculative theories, hitherto confined to the few, became when once they were quickened by faith-things for which thousands were eager to
die. Simple women meditated in their homes on questions which had long troubled philosophers in the groves of Academia. They knew this well; they felt that from her who had sat at the feet of the Master, listening to the divine teaching, down to the poorest slave who heard the tidings of spiritual liberty, they had all become daughters of a great and immortal faith. Of that faith they were the earliest adherents, disciples, and martyrs. Women followed Jesus, entertained the wandering Apostles, worshipped in the catacombs, or died in the arena."
If we look to secondary causes, how materially has Christian civilisation progressed through female influence and by female exertion! In our own land, how much has been done for religion's glorious cause by females, from Queen Bertha, in the year 597, to our beloved Queen Victoria, in the year 1855! Turn we to any period of history and we shall find that rarely, indeed, is it marked by an important event with which woman was not connected. It was a conviction of the potency of female influence that prompted the celebrated Thomas Sheridan to suggest establishing, nearly one hundred years ago, a national system of female education. He justly observed: "Women govern us; let us try to render them perfect: the more they are enlightened, so much the more so shall we be. On the cultivation of the mind of woman depends the wisdom of man. It is by woman that nature writes on the heart of man." No one will deny that female influence is the most potent of earthly influences; and well has it been observed, that "the thoughts which occupy the woman at home are carried into public assemblies by the man."
The Bible, that "Book of books," which none but fools despise, bears evidence in the strongest and most irrefragable manner, in support of what we advance with regard to female influence. It tells us that he who was not born of woman, but was made perfect after the image of the Holy One, his Creator, partook, through woman's influence, of
Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe,
It tells how female influence elicited the moral weakness of Manoah's mighty son; how he, whose physical prowess could withstand, and could destroy, a thousand stalwart warriors, yielded to,